What once was old is new again, especially if we’re talking about rampaging dinosaurs – movies about rampaging dinosaurs, that is. To be more specific, Sci-Fi Channel original movies about rampaging dinosaurs. Sci-Fi will be unleashing the extinct predators by land, air, and sea for our viewing pleasure in 2008.
With a title that sounds tailor-made for a lucha-themed punk band, Tyrannosaurus Azteca looks poised to combine Ray Harryhausen’s classic The Valley of Gwangi with Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto by pitting gold-hungry Spanish Conquistadors against angry Aztecs and even hungrier T-Rex’s. Set in 1519 A.D., Hernan Cortes leads a scounting party of thirteen fellow conquistadors through hostile Aztec territories just inland from the Gulf of Mexico into a remote valley that turns out to be home to some Tyrannosaurus Rex that the Aztecs worship as gods. If you know anything about the history of the land now known as Mexico and how Sci-Fi Channel original movies tend to play out then you can probably ascertain what direction things go in from there.
Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, he of Night of the Demons 2, Leprechaun 4: In Space, and Megiddo: Omega Code 2 fame, expect to see Tyrannosaurus Azteca on Sci-Fi sometime later in 2008. If you need any extra incentive to watch, what would you say if I told you they’ve grossly miscast former “Beverly Hills 90210” goofball Ian Ziering as a certain historically famous Spanish Conquistador? Yeah; the blonde guy with the toothy grin is playing Hernan Cortes. I guess being able to dance the “Pase Doble” on “Dancing with the Stars” convinced the producers he could pass for a 16th century Spaniard.
March of 2007 saw the Sci-Fi Channel premiereReign of the Gargoyles; that one pitting World War 2 pilots against demonic gargoyles unleashed by unscrupulous Nazis – a cast member of the show “Charmed” co-starred. Now the Sci-Fi Channel will be giving us another WW2 themed monster movie also starring a former cast member of “Charmed”. Sometime in 2008 we’ll get Brian Krause in Warbirds, from writer/director Kevin Gendreau, in which members of the greatest generation square off with a menace from the prehistoric age – pteradons, to be precise.
Set during the final days of World War 2, a band of WASPs (Women’s Air Service Corps) are enlisted to ferry a top-secret weapon to an American airbase in the Pacific, only to get swept up in a violent storm that forces them down onto a deserted Pacific island. Not so deserted after all; they find themselves having to contend with pteradons, flying dinosaurs that devastated what was left of the Japanese Imperial Air Force. I’m assuming there are some male soldiers also along for the ride and a case of Brian Krause in drag.
But Mr. Krause can’t seem to get enough Sci-Fi Channel dino flicks and so he’s going to be kicking off the Sci-Fi Channel original movie year of 2008 with this Saturday’s premiere of Beyond Loch Ness, the latest aquatic creature feature from Snakehead Terror director Paul Ziller. This time Brian Krause plays a cigarillo-smoking cryptozoologist hunting the Loch Ness Monster that he watched kill his father thirty years earlier. Somehow, for reasons I can only hope the movie explains, his vengeance-minded Nessie hunt takes him to a small town on Lake Superior where a 60-foot plesiosaur has begun killing and breeding. Well, technically speaking, going from Scotland to the US-Canadian border means they will be beyond Loch Ness.
A trailer for Beyond Loch Ness – back when it was originally titled Loch Ness Terror – has been up on YouTube for a couple months (see it below) and I must confess to being taken in by it. The CGI doesn’t look too shabby for a Sci-Fi original and the pudgy little baby versions of the monster (that doesn’t look like any plesiosaurs I know of) are quite funny to see in action – sorta like a homicidal versions of The Waterhorse.
And still waiting in the wings is the sequel the world has been clamoring for: Planet Raptor: Raptor Island 2. This sequel to the impossibly lame Raptor Island (review) looks to have next to nothing to do with its predecessor, what with it being set in the year 2066 and all. Long story short: soldiers in space happen upon a planet populated by vicious velociraptors; you can insert the rest of the blanks. The cast includes the likes of Ted Raimi, Vanessa Angel, Steven Bauer, Musetta Vander, and Peter Jason. I do believe the film is currently available on DVD in some former Soviet republics. When we’ll get to see it is anyone’s guess at this point. But if and when we do, no doubt a Sci-Fi Channel premiere will herald its coming.
It will truly be a dino-riffic 2008 on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Discuss your big dinosaur in the Dread Central forums!